Novice vs. Expert
By Moshe Katz


Novice vs. Expert

I love watching martial arts training videos, whether it is Krav Maga, Jujitsu or any style; everything looks so perfect. But then when you try it out, on a non-complying partner, does not always work so well. When we try techniques at Itay's gym we go full force. My friend Mark Hatmaker has the same approach; he calls it 'the pain laboratory'.

It is the same thing when you come into a school for the first time, or attend a seminar, it always looks great and the instructor can apparently make it work. Sometimes he can even make it work on a non-cooperative participant. But there is a problem. 

Even if the instructor can make it work does not mean that this is the best technique for you, or even a good technique, or even an acceptable technique. Why? I will tell you way, glad you asked, because he is an expert at this technique. He has done it thousands of times; he is great at this particular technique. Even if we assume he can make it work in a real situation, which is a false assumption in a great many cases, there is still a problem. You the student are not going to devote your life to the martial arts. Perhaps you just have a few weeks to train. Certainly it is unlikely that you will make a career out of it and have the time to do each techniques as many times as that instructor.  

So then the question is; with your limited time, can you the practitioner make this technique work for you in a real life violent situation? Is the technique simple enough, and easy enough to learn so that you can trust it? Can you really count on this technique when the odds are against you?

The fact that a full-time martial artist can make this work is no guarantee that it will work for you, the beginner, the novice, the non-professional athlete. Now here is another issue I have; the instructor projects such confidence on his DVD or at his seminar that you are sort of captivated and entranced by his power and his magnetism. He believes, so you believe, it becomes a matter of faith.  You walk away believing that this is a great technique.  You have taken on religious faith and you do not question. This is bad. This is dangerous. This is life threatening.

When I teach Krav Maga classes or seminars, I always ask the participants, "So, does this make sense to you? Now try it out." I want you to be convinced that it works by virtue of your own experience, not based on my word. Trust me that it is worth learning, trust me and my experience that it is worth devoting some time to, but only trust yourself that it can actually work. 

The success of your technique will come from the confidence you imbue it with, that confidence can only come from your own experience.